Telehealth Initiatives to Improve Efficiency and Quality of Medical Tourism

Over the past two decades, plenty of telehealth applications have been successfully implemented. Applications such as the transfer of digital photos and patient records and the use of medical video endoscopes to monitor patients’ physical examination have demonstrated great results. For many players, the introduction of telehealth in the global medical tourism market has been a profitable strategy.

Telehealth improves the efficiency, customer service, and quality of medical tourism services via enhanced coordination of care between patients and care providers. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global medical tourism market is expected to exhibit a 17.90% CAGR from 2013 to 2019. A rise in the elderly population and the rising number of uninsured people are some of the factors expected to propel the global medical tourism market. 

TMR experts answers a few questions with respect to the global medical tourism market:

Q. How would the implementation of telehealth drive medical tourism?

A. The use of telehealth in medical tourism can offer many benefits. Telehealth improves the quality and process of pre-operative and post-operative care. It also helps control the baseline data remotely. Anesthesiologists can remotely perform the physical assessment of respiratory systems via teleconsultation. 

Telehealth allows surgeons to manage follow-up care by connecting to primary care providers of patients. It also assures continuity in patient care by offering timely pre and post consultation. 

Leading players and the new entrants operating in the global medical tourism market have started adopting telehealth services for bridging the gap between patients and doctors. 

VoyagerMed, a New York-based medical care company, recently announced its plans to launch a telehealth initiative to connect patients from other countries to the U.S. physicians. The telehealth initiative is expected to allow patients to have real-time interaction with healthcare providers. 

Q. How will telehealth help players in global medical tourism market to serve patients in the urban and rural areas?

A. As telehealth is being implemented by many healthcare service providers, it will improve the access to care in urban and rural environments to a great extent. People travel abroad from their home country to avail advanced medical care facilities. Telehealth helps healthcare providers to reach people living in rural and urban areas and provide healthcare facilities. 

With telehealth, the medical tourism industry is being remade. For instance, millions of people travel to the U.S. to avail superior healthcare. Leading healthcare organizations in the U.S. have started using telehealth facilities to offer medical consultation to those who cannot afford to travel.

Q. What are the challenges faced by the hospitals using telehealth services?

Telehealth in medical tourism has certainly become a rising trend. However, healthcare organizations and hospitals using telehealth services need to consider a few challenges. Legal factors of every country can complicate the entire telehealth landscape. For instance, in the U.S., a telehealth doctor is transported to the patient’s country virtually. Thus, physicians, in order to offer their medical services, need to possess a valid license. 

As telehealth services are new, rules and regulations regarding inter-nation telehealth practices are not fully developed. This can hamper the growth of the global medical tourism market. 

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Over the past few years, there have been vast improvements in telehealth technologies. Although there are a few technical, regulatory, legal, and organizational obstacles, they are manageable. Going forward, telehealth is expected to play a leading role in shaping the global medical tourism market.  


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